Ajax out of Champs League
Posted: 5 April 2009 Time: 18:43
Ajax Cape Town were dumped out of the MTN African Champions League on Sunday when they fell 2-1 to Zimbabwean champions Monomotapa at Rufaro Stadium in Harare.
The Capetonians were leading 3-2 after the first leg three weeks ago, but the Zimbabweans turned the tables on Craig Rosslee's men through first-half goals by Monomotapa captain Mthulisi Maphosa and Charles Chiutsa in the 13th and 38th minutes respectively.
Ajax replied through Granwald Scott who netted in the 27th minute.
Substitute striker Sifiso Vilakazi looked like the villain for the visitors when he had the chance to win the game after a guilt-edged chance fell on him five minutes before the end.
But the big striker shot wide from close-range when it appeared the easiest task to score.
His miss prompted coach Rosslee and deputy Wilfred Mugeyi to kick the dugout shelter in frustration.
Rosslee refused to comment after the match but Mugeyi gave credit to Monomotapa.
"They are a good side. We knew they would come at us from the first whistle so we resorted to counter raids and it nearly paid off because we could have scored at least two goals in the first 30 minutes.
"We lost to a good side. Their captain is a very good player," the Zimbabwean-born coach said after the match.
Monomotapa went for Ajax's throat from the first whistle, and forced two corners in the first 60 seconds, but the visitors absorbed the pressure. Instead it was Ajax captain Brett Evans who had the opportunity to put his side ahead, but intended volleyed attempt was thwarted by defenders.
Ajax were punished three minutes later after Maphosa scored with a header from a tight angle on the left.
It was a hotly-contested goal as Ajax players thought the ball did not cross the line but Madagascar refree Bruno Andriamiharisao was unmoved. Harworking Sameehg Doutie was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet in the 15th minute when his close-range effort was saved after a pass from Mabhuti Khenyeza.
But the visitors got it right midway through the first half when Scott scored with a harmless-looking header, which caught Monomotapa goalkeeper off-guard, after a cross on the left by Franklin Cale.
Chiutsa wrapped-up the win for the home side stabbing in a right-footer from close-range after a delightful cross on the right by exciting winger Christopher Samakwere.
Khenyeza was impressive throughout the match although he was closely guarded by the Monomotapa rearguard.
Ajax line-up: A Petim, N Allie, E Bisser, C Daniels, B Evans (captain), D Selolwane (C Alexander 63rd min), S Doutie, G Scott (S Vilakazi 62 min), M Kenyeza, N Shabalala, F Cale (J Masel 71 min)